The pathology services across North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust have been fully integrated thanks to the deployment of a new digital pathology system that will support faster results.

A £6.5 million investment from NHS England, via the diagnostics digital capability fund, has seen the pathology labs at both Peterborough City Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital upgraded to the WinPath Enterprise Laboratory Information Management (LIM) system from CliniSys.

The system went live at North West Anglia in October, after an 18-month-long project designed to help reduce reliance upon paper and to deliver faster results, regardless of where blood samples are taken or tested.

The way tests for patients are managed will also be harmonised across the trust, which will both improve patient safety and boost efficiency in the flow of patient results.

It replaces two incumbent LIMS – WinPath v5 at Hitchingbrooke Hospital and Telepath at Peterborough City Hospital. Using the new system the trust will be able to process 2.7 million results per quarter – averaging 900,000 a month.

Geraldine Wingfield-Hill, chief digital information officer at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The first few weeks since implementation have gone well thanks to some excellent collaboration between hospital colleagues and GPs in our local communities. We now look forward to further developing our digital Pathology Service to roll out more processes that can enhance the quality of results reporting.”

The deployment will help to future-proof pathology developments at the trust. It will help progression of the Unified Test List and future introduction of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources.

In addition, following the rollout of the new LIMS, the trust is now planning further digital improvement projects, including bedside label printing for pathology specimens and pass-through numbering within the laboratories.

Back in 2021, the histopathology department at Peterborough City Hospital became the first laboratory in the UK to win the Philips Fully Digital Award, after the lab took the opportunity to kit itself out with new state-of-the-art pathology equipment during covid.